The celebrity presence in Goa hardly made it look like a working day. On sale were 50 cricketers, all overseas players. Just till a day before, the perception had largely been that the buyers would flinch.
Except for a couple of big names like England’s Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, none of the others, it seemed, would rake in much of the moolah.
But India Inc proved it all wrong. By the time the auction got over, Lalit Modi, chairman of the league, would hardly stop smiling. “It is just amazing, great,” he kept repeating.
It was after they entered the auction hall and the cheque books were pulled out, that fierce bidding began. At the end of the two-hour process, around $7.67 million – a whopping Rs 37.5 crore – had been spent on buying just 17 players.
“Recession? What recession? IPL doesn’t have any recession,” a bidder was heard saying.
After the auction and the customary tete-a-tete with the media, the celebrities lurked around chatting. “It looks like fun. But it’s also business. What went on inside was fierce bidding,” Wadia said.